Electric Bicycles

Electric bicycles, or e-bikes, are growing in popularity because they allow people of all ages and abilities to enjoy the outdoors and travel long distances with the assistance of an electric motor. Before riding your e-bike on Ventura's bike paths or City streets, please learn about local laws, what is and isn't allowed depending on your age, and follow recommendations for the safety of yourself and others.

What is an Electric Bike?

  • An e-bike is equipped with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts.
  • The same rules of the road apply to all cyclists, including those on traditional and electric bikes.Electric Bikes Ventura
  • Electric bikes do not require registration, licensing, or insurance like a car or motorcycle, however, we do encourage all cyclists to register their bicycle.

E-bike 101

California designates three classes of electric bicycles and by law, they are required to have a label that indicates the class. Knowing the class of your e-bike will help you understand where and how you can legally and safely ride:

Bikes with a maximum assisted speed of 20 mph that must be pedaled to operate.Class 1

Requirements

  • No minimum age to ride
  • Helmet required for riders age 17 and under
  • Allowed wherever regular bicycles are permitted

Bike modification

It is against the law in California to modify or tamper with electric bicycles in a way that changes the speed capability, unless the rider also changes the bike's labelled classification. Electric bikes with motors of more than 750 watts, and bicycles with gas motors, are technically motorcycles and require a Class M license, vehicle registration, insurance, and a minimum age requirement.

Voluntary Bike Registration

In cities where bicycle registration is mandatory, thefts of bikes are less likely to occur since they are not as easy to sell as un-registered bikes. Bike registration is quick, simple, and free! It can be an effective tool to help get your bicycle back in the event it is stolen. Bicycle Registration also aids in identifying the owner of a bicycle in case of a crash. 

Rules of the road

All cyclists, including e-bike riders, must adhere to the same rules of the roads as motorists. Cyclists who don't follow the rules are subject to ticketing and fines as defined by the California Vehicle Code or City of Ventura Municipal Code.

  • Traffic lights, signs, and signals apply to all road users. Weaving in and out of traffic is prohibited.
  • Cyclists must ride to the right edge of the road in the same direction as vehicle traffic. Riding against the flow of traffic is prohibited
  • Cyclists must yield the right-of-way to any and all pedestrians on City sidewalks.
  • When a bicycle lane is available, bicyclists are required to use the bike lane unless they are traveling as fast as traffic.
  • It is illegal to carry passengers on your electric bicycle unless your bike has an extra permanent seat or when using a child safety seat.
  • Always wear a properly-fitted bicycle helmet with the chin strap securely fastened.

Helpful Resources

Contact

For more information about electric bicycles, please connect with our Traffic Unit via email.